As Mr. Biden pushed toward a deal in recent weeks with a group of Republican and Democratic negotiators in the Senate — including Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, a longtime foil of Mr. Trump’s — the former president blasted out news releases, urging his party to walk away.
“Hard to believe our Senate Republicans are dealing with the radical left Democrats in making a so-called bipartisan bill on ‘infrastructure,’ with our negotiators headed up by super RINO Mitt Romney,” Mr. Trump wrote in a Wednesday statement, referring to the Utah senator with the acronym for Republican in name only. “This will be a victory for the Biden administration and Democrats, and will be heavily used in the 2022 election. It is a loser for the U.S.A., a terrible deal, and makes the Republicans look weak, foolish and dumb.”
Soon after, the agreement moved forward in the Senate. Seventeen Republicans voted to take it up, including the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has taken pains to distance himself from Mr. Trump in recent months. It was not clear whether the minority leader, who has previously said he was “100 percent focused” on stopping Mr. Biden’s agenda, would ultimately support the bill.
Still, Mr. Biden — who once brokered deals with Mr. McConnell — was personally invested in pursuing a compromise, administration officials said, calling upon his experience as a deal-maker in the Senate.
“Biden and his team was willing to patiently work together with Republicans, and Trump and his team were not willing to do that with Democrats,” said Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia. He added, “I give tremendous credit to the senators who’ve done this, but I will have to say, an ingredient that is necessary is a White House that really wants to do it, that will reach out across the aisle and will stay at the table.”
Mr. Biden also dispatched top legislative aides and members of his Cabinet to reach out to lawmakers in both parties. Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, said he received repeated calls from Jennifer Granholm, the secretary of energy, and legislative staff members — “always very gently and respectfully” — to discuss the emerging deal and “take my temperature” before he voted to advance the measure.
Multiple senators said the president and his team spent hours with them in person on Capitol Hill and on the phone hashing out the details of the legislation, including thorny disagreements over how to finance billions of dollars in new spending.